Monday, March 22, 2010

Bustin' Out

One of the reasons I started this blog, was as an outlet where I wouldn't offend anyone I had to work or worship with.

Today, it's going to function fulfill that purpose perfectly!

Things I wish I could say at work, but I don't want to lose my job over:

"Socialized Healthcare!?!? OMG, what's next socialized education... No wait... socialized emergency services... No wait... socialized postal system..."

"You know how you felt when our troops started the invasion of Iraq? Similar feeling!"

I just read through the bill as well...

Here's the funny thing though. I don't think people know what the bill is about, and I don't think they know what socialism truly is either. This is the problem when you get your news from a right wing nut-job, who wants nothing more than for the United States to be run as a Christian Theocracy (That's my theory at least!)

I say this, because no-one who argues about this is willing to admit that there isn't problem with the health-care system. Once we agree on that, I generally ask them how they would fix it. What's funny is usually their suggestions involve elimination of pre-existing conditions and life-time maximums on benefits and then some way for people to be able to buy insurance if they aren't offered through their job or if they're self employed. They also want it to be State controlled and they don't want an evil public option, or to have to pay for abortions.

From what I've read about the bill, that is exactly what got passed by the House of Congress last night. The problem is that for too long, Glenn Beck and his minions of mindless robots have been tossing around the buzz words of Socialism, Nazism, Communism and "Worst President in History", and so no-one can actually see this.

Think about it

While I would still like to read the particulars, the Health Care Reform bill passed last night. I heard it announced at work this morning, that we're (The US) officially a socialist nation.

I've been mildly amused the last few months though, watching people who appear to have switched sides.

Almost a decade ago, a US President used an act of terror to justify the invasion of a nation which was not involved. He and his administration twisted the facts in intelligence reports, and a whole nation of 'Conservatives' got all bent out of shape because left wing, extremist liberals were criticizing a sitting president in a time of war.

I still remember listening to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck all become unglued because of this awful rash of protests by democrats.

What's funny is that the complainers have become the complainees. I can't comment on the comparative size of the protests, since I live in the midst of Republican central, but it seems to be more raucous, and obnoxious than the anti-war protests ever were.

I'd like to do a little comparison though...

During the Iraqi War, the US dropped 11 BLU-82B Daisy Cutter bombs. They also developed a new bomb called the MOAB which is significantly, but it doesn't look like they've chosen to use that one just yet. This was just one of the weapons used by the US.

Anyway, the Daisy Cutter is a huge bomb, and was originally designed to clear tree and vegetation instantly in Vietnam. It is produced at a cost to the US Tax Payer of $27,318. It has a lethal radius of 100-300 meters.

In comparison, the cost of an MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccination is $18.30, according to the CDC.

So, for the cost of a split second explosion with enough to power to kill everyone within an area larger than a square kilometer, we could vaccinate 1,492 people.

Just something to think about...

Friday, March 19, 2010

2 and a half Mikes

I'm a big fan of Two and a Half Men. And as I've watched it recently, I've started to notice parallels with my life.

  • I think if most people who knew me had to pick a character who most closely resembled me, I think I would be Alan Harper - Except currently I'm not paying alimony.

  • I think if I wanted to pick the character I most would like to be, that person would be Charlie Harper - But without the binge drinking, although there might be some.

  • At one point I had an Evelyn Harper in my life - Except without all the sexual encounters

  • And I think it can reasonably said that one of my offspring is a Jake Harper.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Koda Breweries

I've been experimenting was various brewed concoctions. Of course, since I was raised Mormon, I haven't been experimenting with actual beer, at least not yet, but I've been having fun, none-the-less.

The whole idea started when my brother brought over a bottle of home made ginger beer. It sat on the fridge for a couple of days and was promptly forgotten. Fortunately for all involve, I remembered 5 or 6 days later, at which point, the bottle was hard as a rock. I relieved the pressure gradually and poured the wonderful liguid over a glass of ice... Mmmmmmm.

It was gone within a day and most of that was consuption my me, since the Koda kids, and the Mrs, weren't to wild about the yeasty smell.

I got the urge to make some more, and in the process of researching, found this site.

The first test was a 2 liter bottle of root beer, and was mixed as per the instructions on the site. I used warn water, which may have sped up the fermentation process. After 3 days the bottle was rock hard, and I felt it best that we begin consumption.

All the kids tried a little, but none had more than a few sips.

My personal impression... There was a definite yeast taste, but it wasn't ver strong. The rootbeer itself was a little lacking in flavor, and it seemed to lack a certain amount of body. I suspect that my use of inferior root beer extract and a sugar content which was likely lower than A&W use are the main culprit.

I just finished mixing up batch number 2. This time I used cold water, a little less yeast and a cup and a quarter of sugar. I also added a half tablespoon on vanilla essense to see how that affects the taste. I'm looking for smooth and creamy.

Hopefully I should have a report for you in 4-5 days.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I'm a little baffled...

A defect in a handful of Toyota vehicles results in millions of cars being recalled and the CEO of the company hauled before Congress for hearings. I thought he appeared very humble and definitely seemed to regret what had happened and promised to fix the problems.

A little bit of an over reaction by the political rabble in Washington, but whatever...

For years, priests all over the world have been sexually abusing young boys. We're not talking about a handful of car accidents, but hundreds, possibly thousands of lives ruined by dirty old men, claiming to speak for God.

So far, not a word has been said by Congress. As for the leaders of this Church, I think Mark Morford sums it up better than I could...

Decades of sexual, emotional, physical abuse of children by priests? Our bad. Here, have a letter.

Details here

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Something Completely Different

I spoke a little in my last post about where this blog originated from... The catalyst that actually got it started was a gentleman by the name of Matt, who at the time, went by the name of The Mediocre Gatsby.

I used to work with his wife, and one day, she announced to a group of us, that he wanted her to advertise his blog. I don't know if I checked it right away, but when I did, I was instantly hooked. He has a very unique style and some of his humor takes a while to sink in, but when it does, it's pure genius.

He's an artist too, and right now, he's having a sale on his art. You can view it here.

I'm finding myself partial to a piece at the end which he has entitled, "Here to Stay". I don't know why, but it just speaks to me. I'm thinking I may have to chat with the Mrs about possibly investing in a piece.

Anyway, I'd recommend checking out his art, and if you want to see more of his humor, check out the links to the right for My Religious Blog and the Genius Archive.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Post 400 - For The People

This is my 400th post since starting this blog some three years ago. A lot has changed in that time.

When I began, I would have categorized myself as an extremely devout Mormon from a religious stand-point, and as a extreme right-wing Conservative from a political perspective. My plan was to blog about relationships and how they affect our lives and philosophical idea's I had whilst discussing the world with friends and colleagues.

As time went by, and as I delved deeper into my core beliefs and thoughts, I found that I started to stray from the Conservative path. I have become more and more liberal in my political beliefs and I think if I had to categorize myself now, it would be as a Libertarian Socialist (Say that three times fast!!). In addition those changes, my thoughts on religion have changed to. From a devout Mormon, employed by the Corporation of the Presiding Bishopric of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, I started to question the motives behind the organization, and so began my departure from Mormonism. Technically, I'm still somewhat active, and to the average member nothing has changed, but inward, I left some time ago.

At this time I'm still struggling to put it all into perspective. While I feel anger at having been lied to for some many years, I also recognize that I wouldn't have met my sweet wife without the Churches influence, and that a great deal of who I am is because of that affiliation. I think I'm probably more of an Atheist now, more than anything else, but I suspect this is a path which still has a long way to go for me.

It's been an interesting 3 years and I'm sure the future still have plenty in store for me. While I have tried over the past year to keep this blog a little lighter than my other blog, occasionally I'll feel the urge to post something of a political and/or religious matter. Recently many of these posts have concerned the need to reform in some of our political systems, specifically health-care, and I felt the occasion of my 400th post would be a good time to delve into the underlying reasons for my support of such reform.

A recent discussion I had on this topic ended with a rather snarky comment by the other party that if their intent on following the founding fathers was offensive to me, it was simply unfortunate.

I'd like to start if I may, prior to the founding fathers, with what came before:

A religious organization is in many ways, similar to a commercial organization. While the product may be of a less tangible nature, typically the reason for forming the organization is the acquisition of capital from those who would follow the ideas and products of the organization.

If we consider England, the Church of England was the prevailing organization and enjoyed definite monopoly on religious thought amongst the populous. With the leader of the organization also serving as the leader of the country, anyone who was not a part of the organization was at a distinct disadvantage, and in some cases would be subject to punishment or death.

The founders of the United States appear to have been an interesting group. Many of the early settlers it appears where of the Puritan variety, seeking a place where they could practice their own religion, outside the control of the Church of England, and impose it on all in their community. There was another group though as well. Men who were generally of a secular disposition and who where great thinkers. It is from this group that many of the founding fathers seem to have been assembled.

When the Declaration of Independence was drafted, it held within it one of my favorite phrases of all time.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness... Three ideals that speak to all people everywhere. When I think of the American dream, these are the things I think of. But I think in recent times, these ideals are in danger of being lost, and not because of Socialism, Marxism, Gun Control or anything like that. It is something which holds each of us as slaves, and ironically uses those slaves to defend it, and justify it's existence.

But let's take a little detour on the way to discussing this. In recent years, Mrs. Koda has remarked often that she would like to see a return to a simpler time, and specifically when we discuss the education of our children, she really likes the idea of the one room school house, where a small group of children of all ages would gather, and a teacher selected by the immediate community would teach each child at their own pace and according to their own abilities. While I have no doubt that our modern system offers many advantages over that approach, when I see my kids struggling with concepts and at other times, consumed with what amounts only to be busy work, I can definitely see the appeal.

It's made me think about the way things used to be, and I picture a small community, much as would have existed in the early days of the United States. I don't have the worlds greatest imagination, but I suspect the scene depicted in the "Little House on the Prairie" series to be a pretty accurate depiction.

I see a small community where everyone played an important part in keeping it running. You have the guy who runs the mill and might employ a few other gentleman in helping complete the work. The blacksmith, the school teacher, and the doctor. While each person no doubt pursued their talents, together they formed a community with shared talents and a common purpose. To support each other and help the community grow.

Let's look at the doctor for a second though, since I want to tie this into Health Care...

You have one doctor who is generally fairly well versed in medicine and does a great job taking care of everyone in town.

Let's say however, that he learns that the doctor in the next town over similar training but has a certain knack for setting bones and performing surgery, and let's say that our doctor has developed an affinity for treating skin conditions. These two doctors might form an agreement where they will spend perhaps one day a week in the others doctors town and help take care of things in which they have specialized. The doctors still get paid the same, but the benefit to the community is increased because you have a cooperative type arrangement between two people with different talents.

Take a few jumps up from that, and perhaps you could include a business which has invented an X-ray machine, or a bone scanner. You have another company which invents artificial limbs, and as the community grows, you have a cooperative which can now provide far better treatment for a variety of ailments and provides a huge increase in benefit to the local communities.

Jumping back to the original town however. I suspect that the single doctor probably wasn't insanely wealthy. As part of the community, he did his work, and they did theirs. Perhaps in exchange for caring for a young child with a broken leg, he might receive a portion of meat and/or vegetables, or some new furniture for his house. I suspect that everyone in town had fairly equitable income and all live a fairly similar standard of living.

Something has happened though, as this picture has grown. As men have formed cooperatives, they've also learned they can start to charge more for their specialist services. And in addition to charging more, a hierarchy has formed where somehow it seemed necessary that those at the top received a greater portion of the income.

There are definite benefits to have cooperative agreements setup between people of similar talents. We get the ability to accomplish more, and more innovation and improvement occurs, but there is a down side. Somewhere along the way, wages got out of wack.

A guy who spends all his time out in the hot sun, digging holes has been determined to not be as valuable to society as a lawyer who can speak well and win arguments. And as time moves on, that separation between the perceived value of both occupations only increases.

Now I know there are other factors involved here, like training and time dedicated to schooling, but from a time when a community all helped one another for mutual survival, it seems like now we have been formed into corporations where those on top take more than their fair share, at the expense of those in lesser valued professions or even those lower in the hierarchy.

Just as England was take over by a corporation, specifically the Church of England, so the United States has been taken over by corporations. The idea of the individual has been lost, and as evidenced by the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that corporations should be considered as independent entities, we're getting dangerously close to where they were.

Back to the topic at hand though... At one time, health care was within reach of all citizens within the US. It wasn't too expensive and it was light years short of what we have now, but the growth of that industry has far exceeded that of other industries. The health care industry has gotten to be great, because of the contributions of individuals, and because of the individuals they service.

It seems to me that each American has played a part in helping that industry and others grow, and as such, we have claim to it's services.

This country was founded on the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and isn't a part of that being able to have access to quality medical care?

The US Government was formed to be Of the People, For the People and By the People. It was never intended to Of Corporations, For Corporations and By Corporations. In fact I think it fairly obvious that the Declaration of Independence was designed to escape those sorts of things.

I'm afraid my thoughts are probably a little disjointed about about to tie this all together, but let me try....

In the situation where a few have determined that their work is worth more than that of the rest of us, there needs to be a mediator that brings things back together again, and that is why we have a government, to represent to needs of all.

The free market works really well, when you consider electronics and consumer goods, but Health Care isn't a consumer good. It's a service which is based on need, not on want, and therefore the free market simply can't work on it. In many ways, it suffers from the same problem which those who face discrimination based on race or gender suffer. Those who need it the most generally did not make the choice to need it.

I've heard the argument that if health care is freely available to all, that it will get over-used, but such is the problem with thinking from a free market perspective. People want to be well, and while I am sure there are a few hypochondriacs who would abuse such as system, but I for one am not looking forward to my next prostate exam or round of chemotherapy. But should the time come that I need it, I would appreciate it being there, and having access to it at a reasonable price.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Q & A

I think there is much to be debated when it comes to health care reform. Obviously the currently system in the US has some major problems and needs to be fixed, and obviously there are a variety of idea's on how to do that.

I'm of the opinion that the solution is likely to encompass a wide range of smaller solutions which will benefit all parties involved. If changes only benefit the recipients of health care, then the doctors get screwed, if it's all doctors and insurance profits, then the patients will suffer.

The question I was going to pose to you was... How can you respond to someone on FaceBook though, who mixes into the debate phrases such as "Worst President in History" and "If we socialize medicine it will destroy innovation and all the world will suffer."

I tried to be civil. I tried to be nice. I even told the originator of those comments that some of his other ideas had a great deal of merit, because I thought they did.

But there comes a point, when there really is only one way to deal with people who are convinced the guy who was democratically elected is an evil tyrant, trying to destroy the world and nothing he will suggest will ever be a good idea.

Remove from Friends

Incidentally, this is the same individual who took offense to my status update about wishing the world could treat people of a homosexual persuasion as normal human beings and not as people who needed to be changed or fixed.

That one was funny because he disagreed with me in such a way as to make my point. But alas I should have dropped him way back then. I guess this latest bout was the universe finally making it's point.

As a complete aside... Today's number is 8 - Read more about it here.

So you missed the Olympics...

Nevermind! You can catch up here with a quick 60 recap!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


It's the number of the day here.

While fortunately my story dealing with this subject isn't quite as bleak as Leslie's, it does involve me missing a shot at the lifestyle all the opponents of this legislation claim they're trying to save.


I'm working on a pretty big (and no doubt insanely boring) post about the state of the US economy.

While I do that though... Has anyone else in Utah noticed this...

Our illustrious governor, Mr. Gary Herbert, former realtor and college drop out, is a man revered by the conservative types because of his uber-conservativeness. He's big on telling the federal government to butt out of the states business and maintaining local control.

But now, he's on TV promoting the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EIC is a federal program which helps offset payroll taxes for US Citizens with lower incomes. It's a credit, not a deduction, so if you qualify for it, by having minimal income and having paid minimal if any taxes, you can still get a sizable refund. It's saved my family's bacon in years past, and I really appreciated it at the time.

However, looking at the program... It's a federal program, so is not controlled by the state. It's also a form of socialism and redistribution of wealth.

So aside from the fact that people who receive the EIN in Utah, will likely spend it in Utah, thus resulting in more revenue for state government, it flies in the face of everything which the governor and his supporters claim to believe in.

I don't know about you, but I get a little sick of people preaching one thing, and then doing another.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

My Gay Boyfriend

I'm a pretty big fan of Garfunkel & Oats, the duo of Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci. They're pretty damn funny, but I think the biggest part of my fanship is that I think Riki is freaking hot!

After watching their new video however, I'm wondering if I could use whatever it was that inspired the rumors that came out while I was doing my two year stint as a Mormon missionary, that I was gay - not that there's anything wrong with that - to my advantage. Of course I have no idea what it was, so I may well be stuck...

Well that and the fact that I'm happily married and wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize that...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

TV Awards

In the TV awards for Monday night, March 1st, we have:

Jon Stewart - For his role of host on The Daily Show. Seems like the Olympic break did him the world of good. He was on fire last night.

Neil Tyson Degrasse - For his role of guest on The Daily Show. Quite possibly the best example we have on earth of a man who is both a genius and hilarious. I'm recording his show on Pluto tonight too!

And finally, while I'm not admitting to watching anything...

Jake - For his role in an undisclosed show - Quite possibly the biggest moron alive. Mrs. Koda maintains he was thinking with his penis, and I just think he's an idiot...

But again, no admission of actually watching the show from me!

Edited to Add
In an comment on FaceBook... SimplySarah pointed out that the other option for Jake was a Yes-girl. Not having watched too much of this season - or at least not being willing to admit that I did, I can't comment on that statement with any great authority, but I can definitely see it as a possibility.

I always wanted to marry a yes-girl, but unfortunately (or fortunately) Mrs. Koda is not of that persuasion. Our first couple of years of marriage where a huge disappointment for me in that respect, because she wouldn't do what I said. However, looking back, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, March 01, 2010

That Damn Mr. Murphy

So I went trail running on Friday. I've got a 50k race coming up in 4 weeks and then the IronMan in about 8. I've been trying to work on my form and running injury free, and I must say that I considered the run Friday to be a phenomenal success in both areas. I ended up running 22 miles (although to be completely honest, there was some walking mixed in there, but that's why I like trail running), and I actually still felt pretty good when I was done.

I grabbed some lunch and then took the kiddo's to the pool for a great afternoon.

As a complete side note at this point... Why do women choose to buy and wear white swimsuits? I'm not saying I mind as much as I probably should, but at first I was thinking... Don't they know?!? And then the thought occurred to me that they probably did.

Back on track though... Saturday, still feeling good, we took the kids down to the park. There was supposed to be a snow storm, but the weather guy got it wrong again (Although no complaints this time!).

We walked the perimeter a few times and then I played Frisbee with the little guys. We finished it off with some soccer type game, which didn't really have a point, but those seem to be them best.

Somewhere during the soccer though, I think I tweaked my calf a little. I don't think it's serious, more likely just a cramp, but I got to thinking...

I ran over 20 miles with no problems what-so-ever, and then I tweak my legs screwing around at the park with the kids?!?!

On a related note... I ran into a herd of bison midway through the run. The main group on the trail seemed to be a group of bulls, and the herd in the distance behind them included a number of brand new calves. I ended up doing the cross country thing to get around them.

19 miles into my trail run yesterday! on Twitpic